NPM No. 028-2016
Requesting Entity: Zamboanga City Water District
Issues Concern: Free Legal Assistance
1. Whether the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members can avail of the Free Legal Assistance under Section 4.1 of the Guidelines (Guidelines) for Legal Assistance and Indemnification of BAC Members and its Support Staff
Section 4.1.of the Guidelines provides that the coverage of free legal assistance shall not include those cases initiated by the BAC member or BAC Support Staff in his personal capacity or in behalf of the procuring entity, or any action or suit initiated by the Government against the BAC member or BAC Support Staff.
Given that the pending criminal case against the BAC members originated from a complaint filed by a private entity, the pending criminal charges do not fall within the ambit of the exclusion set forth under Section 4.1 of the Guidelines. Hence, the BAC members may be entitled to free legal assistance, provided that the conditions set forth in the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9184 and the Guidelines are duly complied with.
2. Whether the posting of bail bond is allowed, including all legal and litigation expenses following the posting bond, or the limitations, if any
[F]ree legal assistance, which includes actual cost of suit and attorney’s fees not exceeding P5,000.00 per appearance, may be extended to BAC members with pending criminal cases filed by a private complainant relative to the performance of their official duties and functions. On the other hand, their entitlement is subject to the condition that they have not been adjudged as guilty of gross negligence, misconduct, or grave abuse of discretion or otherwise held liable or guilty of the complaints or charges.